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The Medusa Deception Goodreads Giveaway
The Medusa Deception is a fantasy action thriller interlaced with Greek mythology involving a strong female protagonist on a path of self-discovery set between present-day Chicago and ancient Greece.
The book giveaway runs between January 9th, 2014 and February 13, 2014. The winner will be selected by Goodreads. Good luck to everyone.
I was at a party last night where a person asked me what editing involved. When most people think of editing, they think of spelling and grammar. How could it possibly take three-quarters of a year to write a book and a year to edit it?
That’s a good question. For me, I wrote my first book without any knowledge of writing, other than what I learned in school. I’m university educated in business and computing, but not at all versed in the art of creative writing. And there’s a lot to learn.
It was a personal decision for me to see if I could write a story (novel length) without being encumbered with all of the rules of writing. I thought I might get discouraged. And, looking back, I definitely might have. The first priority for me was, do I have a story to tell?
While I wrote, I admit to researching how to create suspense. In the genre I was shooting for (fantasy thriller), it’s integral to the story. But that was all the writing advice I sought during the creation pass. After three quarters of a year, I had a rough story, hopefully suspenseful. Now, I had to learn about creative writing.
Below, I highlight my journey through five full edit passes — not including partial fix-ups and edits based on suggestions from others (friends, family and colleagues).
My intent in this article is not to teach. I am a new writer with lots to learn. However, by posting my journey of a years worth of editing, maybe I can help you ask the right questions, get you started.
If I have missed any major points, please feel free to contribute. Thanks.
FIVE EDIT PASSES – A YEAR IN THE MAKING
1st Edit Pass – BACKSTORY & CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
These are both very important and interrelated. Part of how you develop character is through backstory.
I read somewhere that most authors could chop the first 100 pages from their manuscript and their story would be better off. That made me take a hard look at the start of my story. Did it need to start there? Was I imparting unnecessary details? Was I front-loading all of the backstory, boring the heck out of my reader who just wants me to get on with it? Yes to all.
The secret is to sprinkle relevant bits of backstory and character development throughout the story. Not chunk it all at the beginning. Oh.
Consider the “fish-head” analogy. Like a fish monger, chop the fish head off (the first part of your manuscript) and throw it away. Only keep the “good eating” part.
Character Development is worth researching in its own right. How a person acts, how they wish they could have acted, what they say (out loud), what they meant (inner dialogue), how they speak or think (voice), body language, sarcasm, quirks, mannerisms, etc. etc. etc.
2nd Edit Pass – SCENE TRANSITION, POINT OF VIEW, SPELLING & GRAMMAR
A family member read an early draft and pointed out that my scene transitions were choppy and abrupt. So I looked into it. Apparently, there’s a right way to transition your scenes. Who knew?
Within the first paragraph or two of every scene, the reader should be re-oriented as to where they are, when, and in who’s point-of-view. Excellent segue into point of view.
What’s point-of-view? I wrote in third-person limited. Within each scene (or scene break), the reader should only be in one person’s head. Observations of other people’s actions and behaviors are possible only as much as can be observed or derived or assumed by the point-of-view character. If you relay inner-thoughts from more than one person in a scene, it’s called head-hopping and can pull your reader out of the story. Note: You can use scene breaks to switch to another point-of-view and that’s o.k.
Another keyword to look up is author-intrusion. Make sure you, as the author, aren’t explaining something that the reader needs to know, rather than showing it or explaining it from a character’s point of view (show don’t tell).
More on scene development: enter the scene at the last possible moment. What does that mean? That means you might be able to trim your scenes to eliminate the idle chit-chat at the beginning, where you’re losing too much pace, and get to the point quicker. It’s kind of like chopping the fish head off each individual scene.
3rd Edit Pass – READY FOR AN EDITOR?
At this point, I considered hiring an editor, but who? And how much was I willing to spend?
It turns out that who, was a lot harder a question than I had thought. Who indeed? So I did some research. What were the top-rated how-to books on self-editing? I bought Don McNair’s Editor-Proof Your Writing and read it. Yup. Edit pass number 3 coming up. Thanks Don, excellent book.
Tips such as dropping a shoe, so the reader is presented with unanswered questions that they must read on to find the answer. How to sprinkle-in back-story, making sure every scene has a purpose and advances the plot, etc. And more on POV – even descriptive narration within a scene should be reflective of the point-of-view character, not the author.
4th Edit Pass – STORY CLEANUP, Continuity, Add in Detail, Show don’t Tell, Spelling & Grammar
Write for clarity, reduce over-used words and phrases, use fewer -ing words, etc. see Don McNair’s 21 steps in the above mentioned book. Remove cliches unless they are used for a reason. Sometimes less is more. Try to vary your descriptors. I purchased The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi to help identify different adjectives to convey emotion. It helped.
Make sure to remove: author-intrusion, “aha” moments (Oh, now I see, everything is clear now), and Mary Sue characters (flawed is better than perfect).
5th Edit Pass – FLOW, FINE TUNING, SPELLING & GRAMMAR
For the fifth and final pass, I printed the story and read it on paper. I wanted the writing to disappear and the story to pop. If I stumbled on my own writing, a reader would too. Boy, did it need a cleanup pass.
Perhaps the process of editing introduced the choppiness. Or maybe, by fixing the bigger issues, the smaller problems became apparent. Either way, I found quite a bit to polish up. I’m also sure that if I were to read it again and again, I would probably make changes every time. When do you stop? That’s another good question.
Spelling and Grammar (yes, again): Pick a standard (I used an American dictionary, even though I’m Canadian). Also, get another pair of eyes to edit your manuscript. A spell-checker doesn’t find everything, like misused words.
A couple of other things to consider, not covered here, are:
- Structure and Plot
- Outlining vs. Pantsing (writing by the seat of your pants)
Good luck with your writing projects!
Is releasing a book on Friday the 13th a good omen? We’ll see…
After almost a year of writing, plus another year of re-writing and editing, my first work, The Medusa Deception, has been released into the wild. If you would like to preview, purchase, or review the book, please select one of the retailer links on the right margin. I hope you enjoy it.
Most of what I know about writing has been self-taught. In this vein, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve. If, after sampling my writing, you’d like to impart some words of wisdom, please send me an email. I’d be happy to hear from you.
At PSC Inc., we offer our ebooks free of DRM (digital rights management). With the purchase of an ebook, we believe you should be able to enjoy reading on the device of your choice, now and in the future, unencumbered by digital restrictions.
Anticipated release date - late 2013
The Medusa Deception is a novel inspired by Greek Mythology, particularly, the fate of Medusa.
So, what happened?
Legend has it, she was once very beautiful.
Having sworn her fealty, Medusa served the Goddess Athena at her palace in Athens. Then, one day, she either lay with Poseidon willingly or was raped.
Let’s consider that for a moment.
Medusa swore an oath of chastity in order to serve at Athena’s palace. Does it seem likely that she’d disobey that oath so blatantly? In the palace? Women’s rights back then? Not likely.
Gods, such as Poseidon, were players. The list of their conquests, wives and progeny reached as long as their arms, if not longer.
So, let’s take a leap of faith here and say she was indeed raped by Poseidon. Then what? Who is punished?
For having defiled her sacred Temple, Athena curses Medusa to be a hideous Gorgon monster. From that moment forward, all who looked upon her turned to stone.
Fair? Hardly, but that’s not all.
Not long after, Perseus beheads the monster (Medusa) and gives the severed head to Athena as a prize. Athena mounts the head on her shield to use in battle, turning her enemies to stone. Then there’s the aegis, the breastplate garment Athena wears into battle, made from Medusa’s skin. Sounds a bit like the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs, doesn’t it?
For all history, Medusa is known as a hideous monster…
The Medusa Deception is not a depiction of Medusa’s life or death. Instead, it uses the legend as a launching point, providing some interesting back-story to a tale that stretches between two times and places, that of ancient Greece and present-day Chicago.